Luke O'Nien discusses Sunderland's mentality ahead of League One promotion clash with Luton
Sunderland appear to have the upper hand ahead of this weekend's promotion battle with Luton - and Luke O'Nien is ready for the fight.
The Black Cats would leapfrog the Hatters into second place with a victory at the Stadium of Light, where a huge crowd is expected to attend the League One fixture.
Luton's season appeared to suffer a significant blow earlier this week when manager Nathan Jones left the club to join Championship side Stoke City.
That hasn't affected Sunderland's preparations, though, and O'Nien is fully focused on the challenge ahead.
"No not at all," said O'Nien, 25, when asked if Jones' departure would impact Sunderland's approach.
"We approach all games the same with a level head, always do our homework.
"Every game is a big game, we want to go out and put markers down and this game is no different, it's our biggest game of the season because it’s our next game.
"They are close to us in the league so we want to make sure we go out there and put a good marker down."
While Jack Ross and his coaching staff are quick to study opponents, O'Nien believes Sunderland should focus on their own qualities, even against the best sides in the division.
"We always look at the opposition, it can only help you," said O'Nien.
"It’s important not to look too much because we want to focus on our own qualities, but we always do our homework on the other team, look at their strengths and weaknesses.
"I’ve played against Luton the last few years so I wish their manager all the best at Stoke.
"But no it doesn't affect the way we approach the game."
Tickets are still available for the game and O'Nien has encouraged fans to make it another special occasion.
"You’ve got to come along, it would be great to see you," he added.
"Listen we need all the support we can, Boxing Day is always going to be a special memory of mine having so many fans there and lets hope we can make many more days like it."
Children under 16 can cheer on the Black Cats for just £1 in a special ‘Kids for a Quid’ ticket offer, which must be purchased alongside a full-priced adult ticket.